Ruiz, Cruz-Perez Bill to Permit Municipal Land Banking with Online Database Clears Committee

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TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez which would permit municipal land banking in conjunction with online property database development cleared the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

“Abandoned properties pose significant fire and safety hazards. They also create a ripple effect, lowering the property values of the entire neighborhood,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Permitting the creation of land banks and the posting of available properties online will allow municipalities to create positive redevelopment plans for our communities.”

The bill, S-1214, would permit municipalities to designate themselves, a non-profit entity or a redevelopment entity as a land bank entity. The land bank entity would be required to develop and maintain an online database of current and former land bank properties.

“Getting these properties into the hands of developers and homeowners promotes economic development and expands housing opportunities,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Most importantly, this will make our neighborhoods safer places to live and play.”

The bill would require the municipalities designate the land banking entity through a formal agreement, adopted by the municipality and the entity after receiving community input.

Land banking is the practice of aggregating parcels of land for future sale or development. Land banks are private entities created and overseen by counties or municipalities to effectively manage and repurpose an inventory of underused, abandoned or foreclosed properties.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-4-1, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.